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Gender Pay Gap reporting in the Retail sector in 2020/21

Following the Government Equalities Office’s (“GEO”) suspension of the gender pay gap reporting deadline for 2019/20, and given the ongoing focus on COVID-19, reporting announcements were significantly slower in 2020/21 than in earlier years. On 24 February 2021, the GEO announced a delay in enforcement for 2020/21 reporting to 5 October 2021 and the usual reporting rush towards 5 April didn’t happen.

While slightly under 25% of companies reported prior to 5 April 2021, reporting continued steadily throughout April and May and was 32% as at 31 May 2021. Reporting within the retail sector was slightly higher than the wider market, at 36%. To some extent this may reflect the relative size of retail organisations, as there is a tendency for large organisations to report more consistently and compared to other industries there are proportionately more retailers with large employee populations.

Based on the limited group who had reported by 31 May 2021, we observed the following trends:

  1. Low pay gaps - The retail sector consistently has some of the lowest pay gaps within the market. This is primarily driven by the large workforces of many retailers and similarities in pay levels for the (prevalent) junior roles, which are often well balanced between men and women.
  2. Stable median pay gaps - Median pay gaps represent the gap between the “middle” male and female employees in an organisation. For many retailers, over 50% of staff are in “shop floor” or distribution roles and median gaps may illustrate the difference between these roles.
  3. Renewed focus - Recent times have given rise to unprecedented challenges for many businesses, but we anticipate a return from lockdown with a heightened focus on the Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) agenda and long term strategy. We expect Inclusion and Diversity, to continue to be a top priority for many employers and the gender pay gap to remain a useful indicator.

Contact us

Alastair Woods

Alastair Woods

Partner - Saratoga, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7834 250359

Katy Bennett

Katy Bennett

Diversity and Inclusion Consulting Director, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7715 211210

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